Monday, February 20, 2006

Record Review: Loved Ones - Keep Your Heart

Kid Dynamite are one of those bands that send certain members of the punk rock fraternity into a tizzy. The mere mention of their name causes their voice to spike to eunuch-like pitches, their eyes to bug out and for them to giggle like a school boy cupping his first tit. I don’t get it personally. But hey, I can appreciate that level of idolatry. I only mention this because the Loved Ones’ bass player Michael Cotterman is a Kid Dynamite alumnus. If this isn’t a prestigious enough pedigree to persuade you to acquire a copy of Keep Your Heart, stat, vocalist and guitarist Dave Hause earned his melodic hardcore stripes in Curse and Paint It Black and drummer Mike Sneeringer is a former Trial By Fire player.

But for those of you East Coast hardcore tragics now shaking like a dog with a tick up its arse, I’m afraid these pedigrees don’t mean shit. Considering their lineage, the Loved Ones don’t bear any resemblance to the band you’re probably envisaging. The Loved Ones play high-energy melodic pop-punk with the nucleus being Green Day-like melodies and chord progressions. This isn’t to say that the Loved Ones are one-trick Green Day mimickers. Certainly, structurally, they take queues from Billie Joe and Co. The undulating harmonies, the punchy guitar tones, even the bass lines plod along at a tone you’d expect Mike Dirnt to generate. But the Loved Ones possess enough pop smarts for their music to stand on its own merits. The harmonies are memorable, the riffs are stimulating and the musicianship is top notch.

However there are the odd exceptions. ‘Over 50 Club’ and ‘Benson and Hedges’ are crunchy punk rock numbers that aim to satiate the Kid Dynamite enthusiasts I mentioned earlier. This isn’t the limit of the Loved Ones’ hardcore proclivities. From the maudlin wrenching and cursing of ‘Sickening’ and ‘The Odds’ to the fist-pumping jingoism of ‘Living Well (And Get Dead)’ and ‘Jane’, thematically, their certainly is a hardcore aesthetic abounding on Keep Your Heart.

Four thumbs up.

Make Up Your Own Mind:
Suture Self


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